Archive | November 20, 2012

Why characters live and how you can destroy them

I was reading some book reviews on GoodReads and had to laugh some more, especially after what I said yesterday about characters. Several reviewers were absolutely incensed that Patricia Cornwell had killed of Jack Fielding in one of her recent books. It showed a total lack of understanding of how a writer’s mind and created world functions. I know PC’s characters speak to her because some one asked her on a Q & A on Twitter whether she would ever kill Moreno and she said, “No” he wouldn’t allow that. Which means Jack Fielding’s character gave her permission to kill him for whatever reason characters do what they do.

I know other writers have said that when they write something a character does not approve of that is when writer’s block sets in. You can plan your plot out but if it isn’t alright your characters won’t go there and stop communicating.

I’m sure Snape let JK Rowling go there because was the right thing to do. It’s one of the reasons I hate reading fan fic because when people resurrect a character because it’s their favourite the voice is never going to be right. It’s a zombie character and it shows a total misunderstanding of that created world. I find it creepy to say the least.

Professional reviewers will talk about the “bravery” of an author willing to kill a character. Bravery ain’t got nothin’ to do with it. It’s cooperation with the character for the sake of the created world of that book.

Authors know their worlds. They know their characters. Those worlds exist to the author who makes them exist for the readers. Even without movies we know what Oz or Middle Earth or Hogwarts looks like because a good author has taken you there. Just like I hope people can see the camp Leonard is at or Temple Row where BunniHoTep lives or the druid village of the Littlest Druid. And if I’ve done my job right you have.